Fact: The Grand Canyon is a large gap in the earth created by the Colorado River. It is 277 miles long and 18 miles wide at its widest point.
As an 8th grade young man I was intimidated by another classman. That’s pretty typical. But I really wasn’t intimidated by many people, just Nate.
I honestly don’t even remember why, I was just scared to even talk to him. Then he and I were paired up to write the sports column for the school newspaper. That’s a pretty good way to break the ice. He and I became almost instant friends having many things in common. We spent a large portion of the last half of our 8th grade year together.
Summer came and went and we were back to being great friends. At the last minute a spot for the Northwest District Youth Conference opened up and I asked him if he wanted to go, the only stipulation was he had to sing in the choir. He was excited and wanted to go, but he was a little nervous about singing in the choir so he and I, as I had procrastinated, learned the songs on the bus ride to Seattle, WA.
By the way, Nate was not a Christian at this point.
We went, we sang, we did the choreography and then we sat down to listen the the speaker. I think I remember the speaker being Jeanne Mayo but I remember anything she said. I just remember Nate giving his heart to Christ.
Fast forward a couple months to January 4, 2000. Nate’s good friend Adam was behind his house snowboarding with friends and suddenly drops to the ground, dead. According to the autopsy he had a heart attack. A fifteen year-old, healthy, active young man just dropped dead.
Nate was devastated. I didn’t know what to do. Nate was lost in the why’s and I was lost in the how’s. Nate needed help and I didn’t know how to help so I ignored him.
The ground between our friendship started to erode.
I found out a couple weeks later that Nate had recently gotten drunk for the first time. I was pissed! How could he? How dare he? After giving his life to Christ? I was judgmental, I confronted him incorrectly and pretty much ended any possibility at further friendship.
The ground between us was eroded. He was on one side of the Grand Canyon and I was on the other.
I, within the last year, just apologized to Nate. He lives on the other side of the country than I do so I doubt a friendship will ever really take place again but I still felt like I needed to. I don’t know what Nate’s relationship with Christ looks like at this point but I still pray for him and think about him often. If you read this, I love you buddy.
I think the relationship between the Creatives, the younger generation, and the Legalists, the older generation, is very similar to the relationship Nate and I had.
The Creatives and the Legalists were developing a great relationship and then the Creatives got a tattoo or drank a couple beers or had a liberal view of homosexuality and the legalists freaked out and got judgmental. Now the Creatives are jaded and don’t want advice from the Legalists and the Legalists think the Creatives just need to grow up and get a dose of the real world.
I fully understand the use of generalities and know that the above is not always true. But regardless there is a huge division not only in society but in the church as well. We have Creative pastors who drink beer while they preach and Legalist denominations that say he’s going to hell. Can you see the erosion? Can you see the 18 miles in between these two groups?
What’s the solution?
If proper, biblical mentorship were established and accepted on both sides, we could build an 18 mile bridge. The bridge would be both highly functional and creatively designed, like Apple products.
Mentorship puts the next generation on the previous generations shoulders. It allows the Creatives to drive a new vehicle down the road the legalists built.